Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pieces and Parts

I'm not sure when it all started, but one day I turned and found that my patterned bag was not with me.

Earlier that morning before the sun had even thought about rising, we prepared for our day as usual when I developed a sudden repulsion to the bag. It was almost as if a physical illness had swept in through the garage door as the trash was taken out and held it's grip on my body, striking absolute palpitations to my heart and fever to my brain. Paralyzed, frantic and feeling slightly crazy, I just walked out. 

And just like that, the bag never came to work with me again.

It's only in moments of pure silence or when I'm asked what I'm feeding my child do I start to let the pieces and parts creep in. Pieces of guilt so heavy they weigh on my shoulders, knowing I had no real reason to quit other than the sudden suffocation I felt in nursing my child. Parts of tormenting when I beat myself up, researching the web, reading stats, comparing myself to others and defining nursing as the only trait of a good mom. Pieces of sadness that I didn't take a moment to celebrate and commemorate our last session together. In fact, I don't remember it at all. Parts that ache, sag and leak as they adjust, knowing that our infant still longs to take from the breast. Pieces of heartbreak in the week it took to teach him he'll have to find comfort elsewhere, because it would no longer be at Mommy's chest that he would find it. Pieces that chide myself for doing something that seemed to come quite easily to me, milk abundant and efficient and free. Parts that feel like I'm an imposter as I advocate for nursing and advise my girlfriends around the clock, yet haven't kept up with it myself. Pieces that felt incredibly selfish for hanging up the black bag when women all over the world are fighting daily to get an ounce. Parts that wonder if he'll not thrive as well as the first one for quitting "so early." 

Thankfully silence is a rarity around our neck of the woods, so in a moment of controlled chaos I bagged it all up and found much of it a new home. And though it felt amazing to wash and sterilize all those tiny parts for what I was guessing was the last time, I found myself battling my brain to resist reminiscing.

There were all those trips we'd been on together. The sisterhood that comes from pumping mothers. The competition with oneself to create more and more nourishment. The laughter that comes from the inconvenience of pumping at concerts, on airplanes, in cars and in places that seem unfathomable. The pride in providing such magical nourishment to your growing child. The peacefulness of the night and closeness of your little one as you bond in only the way woman and child can. 

Why wasn't that enough?

Most days are so harried I can get through without spending too much time getting personal with myself to try and answer this question.  Most moments are still joyful as the infant's stomach has adjusted, his rolls continue to expand, and his heart and personality that go with it.

It's been nearly two weeks and a roller coaster of emotions to accompany those 14 days. And while I sure as hell don't miss washing all those pieces and parts, the obligation of them literally sucking away at the layer before my soul, I'm still having to work hard to shut out those other pieces and parts. 

So I'll just take it piece by piece, part by part and keep moving forward, wishing upon wishes a part of me finds peace in weaning real soon. 

Nothing to Wear

"Seriously - I didn't understand why it was necessary to have a LBD just hanging in your closet, but now I totally get it," I groaned, heaving piles of once loved, perfectly fitting ensembles that would have been ideal for a wedding 45+ pounds ago.

Stuffing hangers over the doorway and furiously texting my girlfriends and sister-in-law, I debated over sporting animal print, then figured there was no hiding that madness in the tiny Danforth chapel. Finally I landed on a stretchy KU blue dress and sassed it up with some accessories. As I trudged through the house implementing final dressing details, I realized the only black tights I had were maternity and that my arms resembled tree trunks. Le sigh.

This scrambling at the zero hour was not a new practice of mine. In fact, we learned more than six months ago our office would return to business casual and yet I had not done any shopping to prepare for this transition. Perhaps it was because I was avoiding the "hey I kinda sorta just had a 10 pound baby and began weaning so everything's bigger that I wish were smaller and smaller that I wish were bigger" situation.

But: a girl's gotta start somewhere.

So of course I started at LOFT and Nordy's to build back up that business casual wardrobe for Monday through Thursday (Friday is still denim friendly). Here are some finds if you find yourself in a similar situation:

Cardis - dig the Halogen ones at Nordstrom as they are affordable, washable, 3/4 sleeve and versatile

Black and gray trouser pants; love the LOFT Julie or Alfani style

Pleated LOFT blouse that's comfy and hides all the new wobbly bits

Calvin Klein houndstooth jacket for a touch of flare that you can pair with almost any color to mix it up
And as Melanie Knopke shared, start with some basics (cardi, great jackets, dark denim) and a few printed tops and go from there.

It worked for work!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Don't Steal Her

But you better damn well borrow her, because I tell you she's straight up amaze balls. Beyond professional, you'd marry her because you can now, could she just live with you amazing.

I'm talking about Amy.

Amy oddly enough came into our lives as a Christmas present, the gift itself being a once per month house cleaning (pssst, Moms - this is the best.present.ever). Last year this similar gift came in as a Maria. Then a Suzanne. And a Katie, etc.

But this year, Amy may has well have been every stocking stuffer and sparkling gift under that entire tree for the work and care she provides in our home.

Amy is one of those gals that leaves everything better than she found it. I'm not just talking in a Clorox kind of a way (though she's killer with that too), but in a kind hearted, I'm going to be sweet with your children, double check your appointment time and follow up with you to ensure it's up to your standards kind of way. The dog bowls are wiped out, the outside of the trashcan scoured, the laundry room able to walk through kind of way. The make the bed with perfect corners and put your child's lovey adoringly on top and I knew better than to have washed him kind of way. The "I went ahead and did a few loads of laundry and folded them while I was cleaning" kind of way. The "I went ahead and replaced your dish soap because I noticed you were almost out" kind of way. This is all on top of carefully dusted blinds, sparkling floors and sinks, gorgeous vacuum lines and flawless countertops. Did I mention she removed the storage thingy that goes over the shower head and shined each little rung?! Swoon!

Added bonus: Amy doesn't cluck her tongue in judgement as she works her magic or lecture you on the cleanliness level of your abode (here's looking at you Maria). Because really, don't we have enough guilt and receive plenty of "feedback" already that we don't need the helpful cleaning person weighing in?!

Fair warning: she wears ear buds, so approach her periferal very physically so you don't scare the crap out of her. We don't need her keeling over from heart issues now, particularly since you're all going to go out and call her immediately.

To Amy, who makes our lives more breathable and bearable and keeps us focused on what matters: time with our children. Who is fun, trustworthy and just plain stellar at her job. We appreciate you, adore you and think you're top notch.

Please never go. My pals reading this can beg and borrow, but never steal because we need you back. Otherwise it's an episode of hoarders for this Choate house.

Message me for contact info!

Monday Momfessions - Week of January 19

Yep. Couldn't even recall the title of this blog series, the one that gets the most hits and outpouring of questions, laughter, and "I so get it," with you, fabulous readers. It's' been too long. So let's do this:

1. About a year ago I was training for a half marathon. Now I'm training a wee dictator for sleep. I'd trade it for an actual marathon at this point.

2. You can have a two-hour battle over a mouthguard. For reals. I wouldn't recommend it. You can also run into this "situation" with winter coats, mittens, if you don't make waffles in the morning, if you distributed ketchup incorrectly, the wrong program is on the TV, etc. etc. Again, I wouldn't recommend it. Any of it.

3. In a related post, peer pressure is the answer for toddlers to meet their grownup's required request. We will not desire this in their teens and beyond, but fellow parents, embrace it now. Kid won't put his coat on and you're already 20 minutes late to work? He'll do it for his teacher with no problem. He won't wear pants in a society that requires them? The snickers and questions will lead to a covered tush.  He won't wear a mouthguard but wants to play flag football more than anything in the world? Send over the neighbor kid who has more street cred and you'll be off to football in no time.

4. Whipping up a bottle of formula at night is much trickier than whipping out "the girls." Some assembly required makes me fearful of what that kid will actually be downing at those rare night feedings.

5. You know what's so 2014 for fashion if you have two kids under five?: snot, slobber and dried food.

6. Our son's first issue he'll discuss on the couch in the future: witch's ovens. Poor kid.

7. Little Dude has been invited to more princess parties than any boy I thought possible. Truth: I love it. I kinda want to dress the theme at times. And I adore picking out the Barbie convertible. Putting an eye patch on an infant and calling him a pirate isn't so bad either just to see what they'll do.

8. This weekend the baby wore the same outfit. All.weekend. Almost nine months old are not clean, despite their lack of outdoor adventures. We are terrible parents.

9. Eating cupcakes and pizza at children's birthday parties is awesome. Totally worth the bouncy houses, trampoline rescues, cow milking and princess interactions for these sweet treats.

10. Spatulas are the best teething toys ever.

How are you doin' in this new year Momma?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Why's the WEEK Hafta END?!

A speakeasy soiree filled with hours of sweating it out on the dance floor with my love.

Breakfast with my champion as he geared up for his first round of flag football.

Flag football itself, after a two hour battle that ended in peer pressure regarding a mouth guard.

Stacks of laundry, chores and car seat arrangements that when completed, still didn't look like we made a dent around the place.

A relaxed stroll with Squeak, who soaked in the vitamin D and shared his sentiment of the warmer temps.

Another jaunt with the oldest, whose carefree giggle and utter joy at jogging with the dog reminded me what life is all about.

Catching up with the best neighbors, who even fed our growing "big" seconds.

Falling asleep by 8 p.m. on a Saturday night and then sleeping in until 7 a.m. on a Sunday, the best treat we've received in years (there were a few wakings in there, but still!).

Catching up with friends on that thing they call the telephone.

Ridiculous giggles and a new jig choreographed with Squeak's musical toys that leave us in fits of laughter and tears every time.

A house still in disarray, but so full of love...and "The Bachelor" in the background.

Life is good. Weekends are the best.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Woes of Waking Up

Our children are up by 6 a.m. daily.

Every day.

This includes Saturdays and Sundays.

Did I mention the older one has shennigans up the wazoo that also involve the hours of 7, 8 and 9 p.m.? The wee one: wakes at least twice in between there. There are no zzzzzs to be caught for adults that last more than three hour increments in this house. Needless to say our wish for 2014 was to get to sleep until 7 a.m. one morning. Maybe even 6:45 on a good day. There are novels written about this, people. (The funniest I might add by Dusick).

Enter the Onaroo Ok to Wake Children's Alarm Clock.

Easy to use, simplistically designed and working to the framework of a child that is motivated by pleasing (and perhaps a bit of bribery from his parents), this little time piece is a gem. For the toddler not yet 100 percent on reading a clock, it glows yellow in color to yield the child (aka keep them in bed), then lights up green when he's good to go. You know, so he can wander in and demand to play army guys before you've even taken your first cognizant morning breath.

In the two weeks we've owned it (Amazon primed at midnight on a particularly draining evening), the big has been compliant with it all but two days (to be fair Christmas was in there). The child who will take 400 return trips with us to his room will actually wait for it to turn green, then bring it in glowing and smiling when the time is right. Because this usually means a whole lot of praise, and perhaps some chocolate or a cookie thrown in at breakfast on occasion for the good deed.

And for Mom and Dad, it means an extra 45 minutes of sleep.

Worth every penny, this device, particularly since it tackles the woes of waking up. Yep, wish I would've invented it too...

Scenes from the Season

Gingerbread houses and snow angels. Baked goods and gifts under a sparkling tree. Little voices with big character singing carols. Advent calendars and Shelfton the Elf. Cards from loved ones and decor in every corner. The smell of cinnamon and all of our loved ones under one roof. Girlfriend traditions of cookies and lunching. Delight at what Santa may bring and all that the season anticipates.

Despite having the flu AGAIN and cutting our list a bit short of traditions and firsts this year, it was all the magic we'd wished for in our hearts.

We can't wait to hold on to all this merry and bright throughout the year.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Er, I mean...a really relaxing area in which he can play and explore!

Given Squeak's new affinity for army crawling at lighting speed toward anything he should NOT touch, we ditched the fence thingy and went for a larger play yard for those moments when Mama just needs to turn her back for a second. You know, to hit the ladies room alone (ha), put out fires on the stove or tend to the four year old requiring dressing assistance.

The Joovy is awesome! A decent price point, it's easy to set up, simplistic looking and has large square footage for your wee one to enjoy his toys, attempt jail escapes through the mesh and still hang with the family all while safely sitting on his tush vs. eating his brother's army men in the corner. Easy to maneuver and stick in a variety of rooms, Squeak enjoys up to 30 minutes in their on his own with a gaggle of Fisher Price friends. We can still giggle and chat through the mesh and he can interact with his older sibling without a constant battle ensuing and the 210th talk of "what fits through a toilet paper roll is safe to still have out on the floor" chat. Because let's face it, that one isn't super motivational for superheroes of a certain age. Plus it just gets them going with the word toilet. Boys...

So if your home isn't super conducive to gates or you need some peace of mind, your wee one enjoy the Joovy. It's groovy!